Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Upcoming Events

Discussion of 2018 gathering

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama

Photos of insects and people from the 2011 gathering in Iowa

Photos from the 2010 Workshop in Grinnell, Iowa

Photos from the 2009 gathering in Washington

Lifespan of a writing spider

For the past three years we have had the pleasure of hosting a lovely writing spider in my azalea outside of my front window. My granddaughter named the first one "Spidey" and each successive visitor has been Spidey 2 and Spidey 3. Each one has left an egg sac, given us hours of entertainment and then moved away, leaving my grandgirl in tears. We have learned a lot about spiders and she has lost her irrational fear of them, becoming a rapt and respectful viewer.

Where do our "Spidey's" go? They always show up in late summer (August) and leave in mid-September. I need a good, honest way to explain this to my girl.

Writing spider
is a common name used for the Argiope spiders, because of the zigzagging patterns they make in their webs. See this illustrated Argiope aurantia page by John and Jane Balaban for the life cycle - is this the one you have?
I'm thinking Spidey 2 was Spidey's daughter, and Spidey 3 her granddaughter. This year's eggs become next year's spiders. The usual life span of this species is only one year, and supposedly they die with the first hard frost. Perhaps the most famous illustration of this sad fact is the story of Charlotte's Web - have you read this book with your granddaughter? Charlotte lays her eggs and then dies - sorry if this is a spoiler for anyone!

Writing spider
Thanks, Hannah. I've been holding off on reading Charlotte's Web since my girl is only four and a half, but I think it's time!
We've had no frost - it's still very hot here in Virginia - but we have said about the other Spidey's that they have gone to the woods to prepare a warm home for the winter months.
I had thought that the praying mantis was a predator but saw her capture and eat one this year!! We remain grateful for the time that we have her to commune with and look forward to Spidey 4.

Comment viewing options
Select your preferred way to display the comments and click 'Save settings' to activate your changes.